I picked up my phone and looked at the screen. I didn’t know what to do, so I just stared at it. There was one folder on my phone that was off-limits. In that folder were all my social media apps. I already checked email. I didn’t feel like opening up the Kindle app or reading an article. There wasn’t anything really productive that I needed to do on it. Why did I even pick it up in the first place?
Before Christmas, I made the choice to take a social media break. Did I have a problem? I don’t know. I’m still debating it. I went a little over two weeks and here’s what I learned about myself:
- The habit to pick up my phone is strong. Any downtime, I pick it up. Have an iPhone and curious about the amount of times you pick up the phone? Check the stats on Screen Time. A person that sleeps 8 hours a day and picks up their phone 48 times through the day averages one pickup every 20 minutes. The week before I stopped social media, I had a Tuesday with 61 pickups. I wonder how many times to check notifications? I get it for messages, but are likes really that important? How many times was I scrolling mindlessly?
- Thinking about mindless scrolling…How is that really being sociable? Am I looking for content that I can engage in or am I just wasting time swiping up? And if there is no content in my feed worth engaging with, maybe I need to change my content. If I don’t, what’s the purpose?
- You only get so much time in this life. Killing time on my phone is a crime against this gift. I did this trial during the holiday season. How many family gatherings have you witnessed where the family members spent more time on their phones that they did in fellowship with the rest of the family? When I got past the habit of constantly picking up my phone, I found that I was more attentive to those around me. This was a worthwhile trade-off.
Social media is not bad. Used properly, the benefits are enormous. Without balance, it could suck the very life force out of you. I’m still struggling the find the balance. If I can stay mindful in my daily practice, I can win this battle. This may mean taking regularly scheduled breaks. So if you follow me, and I go dark for a while, you know why.
Have a best practice? I would love to hear about it.